Charity can take many forms, including providing a well for clean water, or building a hospital, mosque, or “establishing a school”. This continual type of giving to individuals or institutions was widespread among the Muslims during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The Prophet himself was the most generous of men. He used to give with his own hand. When asked for anything, he never refused. If he had nothing to give, he would borrow from one of his companions and pay them later.
The Prophet’s wives were also known for their alms giving. Of them, Zaynab bint Jahsh was the most generous and was called by the Prophet “the longest of hand.” She was also known as the “mother of the poor” for her alms-giving. Aisha (RA), the youngest wife of the Prophet too was known as “the mother of the poor.” Whenever anyone uttered words of blessing for her, she used to return the same with some alms.
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) as saying, “Among the actions and good deeds for which a believer will continue to receive reward after his death are knowledge which he taught and spread, a good son whom he left behind, or a copy of the Qur’an which he left as a legacy, or a mosque he built, or a house which he built for the traveler, or a stream which he caused to flow, or a sadaqa which he gave from his property when he was alive and well, for which he will continue to receive reward after his death.” (Ibn Majah and Baihaqi).
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